MIAMI (CBSMiami) - From victim to advocate, Somy Ali confronts domestic violence and human trafficking every single day with her volunteer team, simply known as 'No More Tears'.
They see themselves as the 'second responders' who assist victims in putting their lives back together again.
"Sixty percent of the victims that we help are Hispanic in background. They don't know where they are. They're afraid of being deported, they have no money, they don't have a job, they have no paperwork," Ali said. "Actually, there are so many reasons, and not only that, the abusers have guns. They threaten to shoot you if you decide to leave or call the cops. So, fear is a very significant and pivotal factor and an element in why victims don't leave."
Ali founded the non-profit organization 'No More Tears,' which offers emergency shelter, legal assistance, an advocate in the courts, and much more.
"Referrals come from police departments, national human trafficking hotline, and hospitals," Ali said. "With the pandemic we've housed 192 victims since March 2020."
She knows all their stories.
"One victim was rescued on July 15, 2020, with a SWAT team, with 14 police officers," Ali explained.
This resident of Broward now has a safe place with her son and is in vocational school as well. She has made a friend through the 'No More Tears' network, another survivor, who drives her to and from school.
Her situation is one that Ali connects with personally.
"I know a lot. I know what it's like because I've been there, and I've seen my mom abused. I grew up in it," Ali recalled.
Ali is not just a witness, but a victim in three harrowing scenarios. She said she was abused by workers in the home as a young child in Pakistan, and then raped at age 14 in Miami, and then as a lovestruck teen in India's Bollywood. She said her actor boyfriend became her abuser.
"It started with verbal abuse and it escalated to sexual and physical abuse and it lasted for eight years, it was very very difficult. I was trying to protect myself, tried to fight back. I waited for him to change; every survivor goes through that. I didn't have anything to come back to America, so I stuck around. I just had dropped out of ninth grade, I had no education, so I was hoping that he would change and waiting and waiting which is very common for domestic violence survivors."
She returned to Miami at age 24 and started her organization in 2006, knowing it was her calling.
She said the work is rewarding and has earned her national recognition, including President George H.W. Bush's Points of Light Award. The work is also sobering and dangerous.
"Seven years ago, I had a gun held to my head in Plantation. I don't know whether it was a trafficker or an abuser, from what he said 'Stay away (expletive) or next time I will blow your head off'," Ali said.
She moved to a more secure place, but she didn't quit, because she's not done.
"I haven't woken up one day, not one single day, where I feel like I don't want to do this. This is my life, this is my passion, this is my purpose. This is the reason for my existence and I've suffered a lot; I've been through horrible, horrible abuse and this is the only thing that makes me happy Nothing else makes me happy."
'No More Tears' is funded by donations, to learn more about the organization, domestic violence, and human trafficking please visit these resources:
The 'No More Tears' victim crisis line is: (954) 324-7669
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